Coal scam: CBI lodges fresh case against Prakash Industries
Four years after registering a preliminary enquiry, CBI has registered a fresh case in coal scam against Prakash Industries alleging cheating in the allocation of Chotia coal block during the NDA government's tenure in 2003. Based on a complaint by former Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit and others in 2012, the Central Vigilance Commission had directed CBI to register the case but it remained a preliminary enquiry till now.
In its FIR, CBI has alleged its probe brought out facts against Prakash Industries which are offences punishable for criminal conspiracy and cheating under Indian Penal Code. The FIR registered on Friday says Coal Ministry had issued allocation letter to Prakash Industries on September 4, 2003 for the allocation of Chotia Coal Block for expansion of its sponge iron plant in Champa, Madhya Pradesh (now in Chhattisgarh) with certain conditions. The company did not respond to a query sent on email seeking reaction on the development.
The agency alleged the company made "false claims" about production figures of its sponge iron plant in several of its communications to the Coal Ministry while applying for the block. The company had first applied in 1993.
Later, on November 26, 2011 and January 22, 2012 it informed Coal Ministry that it was producing 4.25 lakh tonnes of sponge iron per annum, the FIR alleged. However, in a letter on January 22, 2003, the company claimed it had acquired highest capacity in 2001-02 with 2.74 lakh tonne as compared to 1995-96 when the production was 1.59 lakh tonne.
It said the plant is expected to achieve figures of 2.9 lakh tonne in 2002-03, hence captive coal block be allotted to It thus proving that claims made by it in 2001 and 2002 to be false, the CBI FIR alleged. The FIR also alleged that during 19th Screening Committee meeting held on May 26, 2003 the company claimed that existing sponge iron plant has a linkage from Coal India Limited and it seeks to add another 4 LTPA capacity after which the panel decided to allocate the block "exclusively for 4 LTPA capacity additions" in the plant.